A Zen Buddhist Community in Shelburne, Vermont

Parinirvana Ceremony

14 feb 2023

For 45 years the Buddha, after attaining Perfect Enlightenment, preached the Dharma to all who would listen, devoting himself to the welfare of all living beings. But in his eightieth year, during the seclusion of the rainy season, he suddenly fell ill. Feeling that his time, though near, had not yet arrived, he entered a deep samadhi to free himself of the disease. Emerging from his meditation he said:

This body has become worn-out and is like an old cart which can only be kept rolling along with great difficulty. My time to be set free from the bonds of becoming, as a chick which on hatching finally breaks free of its shell, will be in three months.

He reminded Ananda that although his bodily journey was nearing fulfillment, each person was to continue to work at his own Enlightenment. He said that since he only taught the Dharma out of his own Realization, the Sangha was not dependent on him for leadership. “Therefore,” he told Ananda, “be ye lamps unto yourselves.”

On Tuesday, February 14, during the evening sitting, we will commemorate the Buddha’s final departure from the realm of birth-and-death. All are welcome.

The sitting begins at 6:30 pm. The ceremony will start around 7:15 pm. Those who have not been exposed recently to Covid may attend in person. Masks may be required. All are welcome to attend via Zoom—no need to sign up ahead, just use the regular sitting link (below).